SUNDAY, 17 SEPTEMBER 2017
SUBJECT/S: Olivia Newton-John Cancer Centre investment; marriage equality; national security
JENNY MACKLIN, MEMBER FOR JAGAJAGA: Thanks everyone for joining us here on this very beautiful Melbourne morning. We're at LaTrobe University and I would like to particularly welcome all of the walkers and runners who are going to participate in this walk for the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Centre. It is an incredibly important centre, a wonderful place where people come to get treatment for cancers in our area. I want to say a special thank you to Olivia Newton-John for the way in which she gives us so much of her time, her energy, her love for our community. So thank you so much Olivia.
We're very, very pleased to have Bill Shorten here and two other of my colleagues Catherine King and Andrew Giles. Thank you all for joining us here today.
And I especially want to acknowledge Jonathon Cebon, he is professor at the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Centre. He is the head of the research institute. He does a brilliant job looking for new ways to treat cancer. So thank you, Jonathon for everything you do.
I'll hand over to Bill Shorten. Thank you.
BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Good morning everybody. It's fantastic to be here at Olivia Newton-John Centre fun run and fun walk to help raise awareness and raise money for the important research of the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Centre.
Most Australians unfortunately know someone who has passed away from cancer. 17,500 Australians are diagnosed annually with breast cancer, nearly 2,000 of our fellow Australians are diagnosed with brain cancer each year. That is why Labor is really pleased to be able to announce that we would allocate $20 million to the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Centre so that they can do work into researching and better testing for late-stage recurrence of breast cancer and to do more work with brain cancer research.
We congratulate Olivia Newton-John and all of the skilled researchers and staff of her centre. Australia, we haven't got the answers to all of these dreadful forms of cancer but we know that because of the great work of this research centre, we are doing as well as anywhere in the world. And who knows, some of the work which is being done right now could help find the cure to help detect and prevent and treat late-stage breast cancer and of course, brain cancer.
I'm happy to hand over now to Catherine King to talk a little bit further and then Jonathon Cebon.
CATHERINE KING, SHADOW MINISTER FOR HEALTH: Thanks very much, Bill and it's terrific to be here today for this announcement for the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute.
As Bill has said, metastatic breast cancer is one of the lowest survival cancers that we have. Only 30 per cent of women who develop secondary breast cancer actually, after 5 years, actually survive. It's one of the cancers that we need to do much better on. The funding that is being announced today will go towards further research into metastatic breast cancer, but in particular, trying to understand why those dormant cells suddenly become activated. We've lost recently Connie Johnson, an incredible campaigner to metastatic breast cancer. We lose too many women to this awful disease every year so spending $20 million is a very, very smart investment to make sure that we actually start to find a test to be able to try and detect why those dormant cancer cells are becoming activated.
We also know that there are other cancers; brain cancer in particular where the survival rates are very low. This money will also go into investing more into research into these areas.
I want to congratulate the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute and my colleague in particular, Jenny Macklin who has been tireless in campaigning to make sure that, not only the cancer centre built with a $15 million investment from Federal Labor and a significant investment from the former state Labor government as well, but that the research continues at this important institute.
JONATHON CEBON, ONJ CANCER WELLNESS & RESEARCH CENTRE: Mr Shorten, Jenny Macklin, Catherine - I would just like to on behalf of the Olivia Newton-John Centre and Research Institute, thank you very much for your commitment to support our work.
We engage in clinical translation. That is to learn fundamental truths from our laboratory studies and then take them into the clinic through clinical trials to find better ways of treating cancer and helping Australians with cancer. And this commitment to support our work is going to make a huge difference to our ability to translate the discoveries that take place in the laboratory and make a big difference in the lives of people who experience breast cancer and brain cancer, so thank you so much indeed.
SHORTEN: Are there any questions?
JOURNALIST: John Howard is calling on senior conservatives to come out against same sex marriage. How damaging do you think that is to the Yes campaign?
SHORTEN: Oh listen, I don't want to comment on internal ructions in the Liberal Party, full stop.
In terms of marriage equality; I strongly encourage people as the survey is now arriving, to fill them in. It takes 30 seconds to fill in the survey and then go down to the post office or the post box and mail it. My message is what is happening in all of the other noise around the issue, isn't the main game. What matters is filling in the survey and voting Yes ideally.
JOURNALIST: And Cory Bernardi has told the No campaign that "we're under assault because we are on the right side of legal and moral history". What's your response to that?
SHORTEN: This is a survey asking people what they think about marriage equality. Everything else is just white noise. I really encourage people to vote Yes for marriage equality. I think it is important that Australia's not one of the last developed nations in the world to get around to legalising same sex marriage. All the other issues can be dealt with elsewhere. This is a straight forward survey. Australians are just being asked: do you support the right of some people to get married to the person they love or not? I think the answer is pretty clear, the answer is yes.
JOURNALIST: Islamic leaders are calling for a hotline, a helpline to help combat radicalisation. Do you think there is merit in an idea like that?
SHORTEN: Certainly it is an idea which I would be interested to see how the security agencies respond to. I think the more that we bring people together, the better we do. I think it is very important to remember that only a very small part of the Muslim community are radicalised. I think that if we can get more information to assist people from falling off the rail, falling off the tracks, well that's a good thing.
JOURNALIST: And State Parliament here has referred the questionable printing invoices to IBAC. You have used one of the printing firms. Are you confident that there is no wrongdoing that's gone on in your office?
SHORTEN: Absolutely confident and it should be referred to IBAC.
JOURNALIST: And if IBAC asks you as part of its investigation -
SHORTEN: I'll let them do their job, absolutely.
JOURNALIST: From Greg Jennett in Canberra, just on the same sex marriage issue. Considering what John Howard has reportedly come out and said, do you believe Peter Dutton and the others are running dead?
SHORTEN: Again, I don't want to comment about internal Liberal Party division. So I don't want to comment about the Liberal Party internals. The survey has gone out. People should absolutely fill in the survey, complete it and then we can get on with things.
I want to return to perhaps where that last contribution was going to. Today is an announcement where we are saying, the Labor Party is saying, that this extra $20 million can make a real difference to people who are already making a real difference.
We salute Olivia Newton-John’s tireless advocacy. She is a great Australian - not only is she a most talented performer but she has used her capacities and her talents to advocate for others. We strongly, strongly recommend to Mr Turnbull and the Government that they follow and match what we are saying. This is an issue which can be above politics and on a beautiful Sunday morning, what better way can there be than to start it with both sides of politics working together to make sure that we can fund this vital cancer research work.